In today’s working world, overlooking the importance of office design can prove to be a costly mistake. Shrewd bosses understand that there is a direct link between poor workplace design and increased employee stress, lowered productivity and poor business performance. From a lack of privacy, to poor communication, to messy workstations, there are all sorts of indicators that point towards an ineffective, unproductive work environment. If you want to avoid these common pitfalls, here are five sure signs your office design is letting you down.
- Your productivity levels are too low
Deadlines are being missed, work production has slowed down and your staff are taking twice as long to complete a simple task. Sound familiar? A decrease in productivity can be bad news for your bottom line, and it could be that your office design is to blame. After all, if the environment around them does not support your employees’ needs, the quality of their work is bound to suffer. One possible reason for a decline in performance could be a poorly thought out open plan office design. While these shared work spaces can be great for collaboration, they can also be a hindrance when employees need to concentrate. Placing staff members who need to work in a quiet environment in the same room as those who use their phones all day is a recipe for disaster. One way to combat this problem is to provide private areas where workers can retreat from noisy distractions and focus on individual tasks. A simple and cost effective way to do this is to use office screens to create secluded areas in open plan rooms.
- There’s not enough interaction or collaboration
While there’s no doubt that some degree of privacy is needed in the workplace, that’s not to say open plan environments can’t work. When planned well, an open plan office can strengthen colleague relationships and boost employee engagement. Individual offices, cubicles and fixed seating plans, on the other hand, can cut off the flow of communication between workers and lead to a lack of cooperation. If your personnel aren’t working together effectively and there is a need for more interaction, it may be that you could benefit from incorporating more collaborative spaces within your office. Providing communal areas where colleagues can get together, have impromptu meetings and share ideas and knowledge can help to foster camaraderie, inspire creativity and promote a healthy work environment. You may also want to think about having a flexible seating plan to encourage employees to mingle with people from other departments and improve communication across the company.
- The number of sick days has increased
If your workers are taking lots of sick days and complaining about their health, you may want to turn your attention to your furniture. Bear in mind that your staff can spend up to eight hours a day, or potentially even longer, sitting at their desks, so it’s important to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. An unsuitable chair and incorrectly set up workstation can cause a great deal of stress and frustration and lead to physical ailments such as bad posture, backache, headaches and repetitive strain injury. To avoid these issues and make sure that your workforce is happy and healthy, it pays to invest in high-quality, ergonomic furniture that supports healthy posture and allows staff members to work more efficiently. Showing your workforce that you have made your best efforts to improve their health and safety can not only help to reduce absenteeism and staff turnover, but it can also bolster morale and enhance performance.
- There’s constant clutter
If desks are piled high with files and paper and your employees spend more time searching for the things they need than actually getting work done, it’s time to rethink your office design. A disorganised and messy workspace can be highly distracting and slow you down both physically and mentally. If the clutter in your office is getting out of hand, you should consider investing in additional filing cabinets, shelves, desk organisers and other storage solutions to keep your workspace clean and tidy. Make sure everything has a proper home and get rid of anything that isn’t essential. Establishing zones for different activities such as printing, filing and working can also help to keep congestion and clutter to a minimum. You may also want to consider reconfiguring your layout to make better use of the space available and schedule time for a clear out every week or so to keep your office organised all year round.
- Your workers are stressed
Office designs that deny workers the chance to get away from their workstations can lead to increased stress and tension, which in turn can have a negative impact on productivity and worker engagement. With that in mind, if your employees seem mentally worn out, under too much pressure or generally down in the dumps, it might be time to inject some fun into the workplace. To keep spirits high and stave off the negative effects of sedentary working environments, it’s important to give your staff the chance to get out of their seats and to take a break from their daily schedule. Whether it’s a relaxing break out area, a games room or a canteen, a change of scenery can work wonders for morale and allow workers to bounce back from stressful work demands. Providing recreational spaces where colleagues can relax and socialise with each other is crucial when it comes to improving bonds and lowering stress levels.
As you can see, a poorly planned workplace can be extremely detrimental to the happiness of your employees and the success of your business. However, by looking out for the tell tale signs of shoddy workspace design, you should be able to create a much more efficient and pleasant place to work.
At Furniture At Work™, we understand the importance of a well thought out office. If you think your workplace is in need of a revamp, why not browse our selection of practical and stylish office furniture today?